2007 Core Elevation Sensation Alta Mesa Vineyard

2002 Serafini & Vidotto Phigaia

2002 T-Vine Cellars Petite Sirah NapaValley

2008 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces

2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley



2007 Core Elevation Sensation Alta Mesa Vineyard – $27.73

I’ve been a big fan of the wines Dave Corey produces for quite a while.  These highly expressive wines are top notch and very reasonably priced.  Most of the wines are delicious blends.  In this case, Elevation Sensation is a blend of 62% Grenache and 38% Mourvedre from Santa Barbara County.  I highly recommend tracking down some Core wines and settling in for a couple hours of pleasure.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby red color.  The big and flamboyant nose is full of kirsch, minerals, incense, blackberries, eucalyptus, earthy underbrush, dark bittersweet chocolate, and warm baking spices.  This has medium to full body, moderate ripe tannins and nice acidity.  This is “stacked” on the palate with layers of fruit, spice, minerals, and earthiness that slowly peal away revealing the next layer.  The finish has very nice length with some eucalyptus, dark chocolate and cherries closing the show.  This is in a prime drinking window now and should hold for a couple of years.  (93 pts)

2007 Core Elevation Sensation Alta Mesa Vineyard




2002 Serafini & Vidotto Phigaia – $9.99

And now for something totally different.  I know a very high percentage of the wines I open are either from California or based on grapes native to the Rhone region in France.  This wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot from the Veneto region in Italy.  I grabbed six bottles of this from Garagiste Wine a few (several?) years ago.  I opened one not long after delivery and felt it needed some serious cellar time.  Five years later, it’s time to try another.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium ruby with a fair amount of brick especially at the edge.  The intriguing nose has blackberries, dusty minerals, tobacco, cherries, plums, baking spices, earthy underbrush, and some leafy green herbs.  This is barely medium body with fairly integrated tannins and tart acidity.  On the palate tart cherries, herbs, and minerals dominate the front end with spices and earthiness coming into play later.  The finish has decent length which leans on the savory elements with tart acidity poking through.  This wasn’t really what I expected but it was still very enjoyable.  A great value at $9.99.  (89 pts)

2002 Serafini & Vidotto Phigaia




2002 T-Vine Cellars Petite Sirah Napa Valley – $33.00

I bought this several years ago during a visit to Napa.  I only bought one bottle so I wanted to give it plenty of cellar time.  I hate only having one bottle of a wine and opening it too early.  I think after laying untouched for 8 years, tonight is the perfect time to open the bottle.  It’s a Saturday evening and I’m grilling thick, juicy burgers.  This should (hopefully) make a nice dinner on the deck.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark, inky purple color.  The outstanding nose is full of blackberries, black pepper, dark chocolate, road tar, well worn leather, licorice, and earthy underbrush.  This has a fairly full body, integrated tannins, and decent acidity.  This is plush and velvety on the palate with lush, ripe berries, black pepper, and chocolate up front.  On the back end some spice, licorice, and earthiness add considerable depth.  The finish is very long and full of juicy, sweet, spicy, peppery berries.  This is delicious today but should hold in the cellar for at least a few more years.  I wouldn’t hold this long term since the tannins have pretty well integrated and the acidity is a touch on the low side.  (93 pts)

2002 T-Vine Cellars Petite Sirah




2005 Rudius Syrah Russian River Valley – $19.99

If you have never heard of Jeff Ames’ Rudius wines, you’re missing something special, very special.  Rudius produces mainly wines from Cabernet Sauvignon and the Rhone varietals, but also has released a Chardonnay.  I’ve opened a fair amount of these wines and have never had one that was less than outstanding.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a deep, dark maroon color.  The intense nose is full of blackberries, Asian spices, charred meat, dark chocolate, fresh cracked black pepper, vanilla, and earthy underbrush.  This has a full body, fairly solid ripe tannins, and moderate acidity.  The palate is absolutely loaded with spicy, peppery berries, vanilla, and chocolate.  The finish is fairly long and adds a meaty element and increased pepper and spice.  This is a big, ripe, bold wine that does show some alcohol but nothing too off-putting.  This may not be for everyone, but it works for me.  (94 pts)

2005 Rudius Syrah




2008 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces – $37.14

Melville is one of the big name Pinot producers on California’s central coast.  This family owned winery produces some of the best Pinot Noirs coming out of California that are fairly widely distributed and very fairly priced.  In recent years they have begun producing very nice Syrah based wines that I have enjoyed.  They also produce Chardonnay and Viognier wines, but I have not tried one of them up to now.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a ruby red color.  The enticing nose has black raspberries, earthy underbrush, minerals, baking spices, cherries, wild flowers, cola, and a touch of licorice.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins, and very good acidity.  On the palate, tart, juicy berries and sweet cherries are joined by minerals, baking spices, and some earthiness.  The finish is very long and full of layers that slowly fade allowing the next wave to wash over the palate.  This is an exceptional Central Coast Pinot Noir that will hold and perhaps improve over the next several years, but it it stunning today.  (94 pts)

2008 Melville Pinot Noir Terraces




We had a slow simmered corned beef with potatoes, carrots, and some onion for dinner with the Melville Pinot.  It may be almost the middle of June, but Summer hasn’t made an appearance in the upper Midwest.  At least it was nice enough we could enjoy our dinner and wine on the deck.

Corned beef dinner





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Wines bought or received this week

2010 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Stile Blocks – 3 bottles at $39.99


I also received these wine samples to review down the road:

2012 The Seeker Rosé (France, Provence)

2012 The Seeker Red Blend (Chile, Central Valley)

2012 The Seeker Riesling (Germany, Mosel Saar Ruwer)

2012 The Seeker Pinot Grigio (Italy, Veneto)


I received these for an online tasting of Lodi Rosé wines next week:

2012 McCay Cellars Rosé

2012 Heritage Oak Grenache Rosé

2012 Onesta Cinsault Rosé

2012 Sorelle Winery Bella e Rosa

Check out the Twitter based tasting on Wednesday evening.




Remember to support your local wine store!




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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.